National Dog Day Automotive Car Safety News & Tips

Today is National Dog Day—-many automotive websites and related companies are finding ways to honor dogs. Most importantly dogs should be kept safe in cars by keeping them restrained.

Why should you keep your dog restrained in cars?

It’s simple— a dog can become a projectile and be flung into parts of the vehicle or even you.

There is good reason why dogs and children should be kept in the back seat. Airbags can injure small children and dogs. Not all vehicles have front seat detectors that shut off the airbag when it is not occupied.

Recently, in an article I wrote for Auto Futures, I found technology that helped dog owners monitor their dogs and also kept them cool. 

Autotrader for the past six years has offered tips for National Dog Day and named the best cars for dogs. For 2017 and 2018 they offered “New Dog Smell” air fresheners. This year they are offering bright orange dog goggles.

In 2016, an Autotrader survey found “66% of dog owners think about their dog’s needs at least a little when shopping for a car and a quarter of dog owners have changed the body style of their car because they got a dog.” This year Autotrader continues with the Dogtrader website with an adoptable dog finder and is donating to

If you can’t afford a new car, you can probably afford to add more safety features for your dog.

What dog accessories do I need for my car?

This is a great “it depends on your dog and on your car” answer to the question.  If you have light colored seats and your dog sheds dark hair a backseat hammock or protector is much easier to clean than vacuuming the entire backseat. Larger dogs may need a ramp to make it easier to travel in cargo area. You may need a rear-containment barrier to keep dogs in the back however you do want to make sure that air flows into the back, because not all back seats have their own air vents.

In another Auto Futures article I explain many of the types of cages and accessories from automakers.

Unrestrained dogs in some states could be considered a distraction and may give cause for law enforcement to issue a citation.

If you and your canine companion are on the road frequently—a crash-tested cage or carrier is a must have.

After a few months of keeping my dog is seat-belted bag–she now automatically gets into the bag when we get into the car….Dogs like small enclosed places!

What about a harness that attaches to the seat belt buckle?

This is a tricky question because when I interviewed Lindsey Wolko for Auto Futures she told me that some cheap harnesses can actually injure the animal when a crash happens. There are few crash tested harness which seem to make sense for larger dogs.  I had a harness on my ten-pound dog in the back seat attached to the safety belt and she jumped up on the back window sill which made me think the harness allowed her to go too far.

Should a dog sit on the driver’s lap while driving?

Since there is an airbag in the steering wheel and the dog in a lap distracts the driver, this is not a good idea. In the case of accidents the force of the airbag can kill a small dog. The dog can possibly fall into the pedal area, causing the driver to hit the accelerator or brakes by mistake. It is even worse if the dog hangs his/her head out the window because the debris can get in the nose or eyes.

What other things should I keep in my car for my dog?

Some things that are good to keep in a car for your dog are a bottle of water, pick up bags, an extra leash, a container of dry dog food , a blanket and a towel. The towel is very helpful for when dogs run into mud or wet weather.

What is the best thing to do for National Dog Day?

Although it could be fun to get a free Starbucks Puppuccino, a small cup of whipped cream for your pup, National Dog Day was founded to bring attention to the plight of animals and encourage adoption by Colleen Paige in 2004. The official National Dog Day website suggests adopting a dog, doing home safety check, donating blankets to an animal welfare organization or have a national dog party. From an automotive perspective it is a good day to think about how to keep you and your canine companion safe while driving.

Now dangerous is driving with unrestrained dogs?

According a Harris Poll conducted by Volvo Car USA unrestrained dogs lead to more unsafe driving behaviors while increasing stress. The study showed more higher incidents of distractions, increased heart rates for both people and pets.

Are distracted by your dog while driving? What adorable and wonderful pet safety items have used in your car? You are welcome to post your ideas int he comments below.